Producing and Artistic Director and Co-Founder
Asiimwe Deborah Kawe a.k.a Deborah Asiimwe was born in Kiruhura, in South Western Uganda. She is an award-winning playwright, producer, and performer. Currently, the co-Artistic Director of the Kampala International Theatre Festival, Asiimwe has worked with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program; dividing her time between New York City and East Africa, she led the East Africa initiative, a program that covered the countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda for six years, and she continues to be associated with the Institute on its new initiative in North Africa and the Middle East. Ms. Kawe received a Diploma in Music, Dance and Drama, and a B. A. in Theatre and Performing Arts from Makerere University in Kampala-Uganda, and an M.F.A. in Writing for Performance from the California Institute of the Arts.
Ms. Asiimwe’s recent plays include Forgotten World, Cooking Oil, Appointment with gOD, Un-entitled, Do they Know it’s Kristmas? to mention but a few. Her radio play, Will Smith Look Alike won an award with the BBC World Service African Performance playwriting competition. Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, who was the judge of the competition had this to say about the play; “I thought the writing was very good and I became really caught up with the play wondering what the final denouement would be.”
Asiimwe has been a writing fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, and a guest lecturer/Artist at Pomona College in California, USA. She was recently produced in New York City with a new play RED HILLS, cowritten with Sean Lewis and commissioned by En Garde Arts in New York City,
For more information, please visit: www.asiimwedeborahkawe.org
Associate Artistic Director
Karishma Bhagani is a director, producer, writer and historian. She recently graduated with a double major in Drama and History at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Born and bred in Mombasa, Kenya, Karishma has always had a keen interest in expanding performance opportunities and the arts sector within East Africa. Her research interests include, the intersections between rasa and traditional forms of oral storytelling in East and West Africa, and understanding the mythological, religious and spirituals seeds of performance tradition in and around the continent.
Karishma’s most recent works include assistant directing the off-Broadway reading of Eh Dah? Questions for my Father, stage managing UNICEF and Hypokrit Theatre Company’s production of a new play, the Tisch STUDENTWorks production of The Gods Are Not to Blame (Producer and Director) and Tisch STAGEWorks mainstage production of One Flea Spare (Assistant Director). Karishma is also a Resident Assistant (Paraprofessional) at Broome St. Residence Hall and serves as an Admissions Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at New York University.
In her free time, you can find her re-watching classic Bollywood films, cooking and reading.
Kenneth Kimuli 'Pablo
Kenneth Kimuli a.k.a. Pablo is an actor, playwright and Uganda’s undisputed king of comedy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass media, Journalism and Creative writing. Pablo was crowned at the Stand Up Uganda Mnet reality TV show in 2009 as the nation’s leading funny man. He cemented this status by providing a high quality televised comedy show “Pablo Live” complete with a dependable, hardworking crew and a bubbly audience, and this show has aired on one of the leading television stations in Uganda.
Pablo started performing Stand Up comedy in 2003, and he quickly became a local, regional and international sensation. In 2008 and 2009, the Buzz Teeniez awards voted Pablo the best television personality. He was also voted best local actor of the year 2010 by the New Vision publication readers through an opinion poll.
Pablo has traveled extensively as a guest speaker, performer, and Master of Ceremonies. In 2007, He was invited to be a Sundance Institute Theatre Lab guest at the Sundance Resort in Utah, USA founded by legendary film actor Robert Redford. While there, he had an opportunity to share a stage with celebrated film and theatre practitioners. Pablo was also among the 80 comedians and Stage Directors in the world and only comedian from Africa selected to participate at the Comedy directors Lab, Lincoln Centre Theatre, New York, USA in 2012. He has been privileged to perform in several countries in Africa, Europe, and America.
On the local scene, Pablo is very active in corporate social responsibility programs. He scooped outstanding performing arts award at the Young Achievers Awards 2013 for initiating Zip Up 256 campaign, an HIV/AIDS prevention campaign in schools & universities using entertainment and testimonies by HIV+ youth. He is a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Kampala North. He serves as the chairman of the publicity committee of the club.
Pablo was a humorist for The Observer Newspaper. His plays which have all been produced at the Uganda National Cultural Centre – National Theatre include; One Night Stand, Madness is coming, and Kiss No More. He has acted in various films like Last King of Scotland in 2005, Hand in Hand in 2005, They Stopped Eating Fruits in 2004. Pablo has also appeared in several local television commercials. Pablo is arguably Uganda’s most sought-after Master of Ceremonies at State, Corporate, Business, Private and other high profile functions.
Pablo evokes laughter through clean humor and intellectual satire. He knows how to highlight the lighter side of serious issues on the social, economic, and political arena and as a result, his catchphrase “Happiness is killing me” has become a household statement to express joy, excitement, and victory.